Jan 23, 2016

The Hungarian Bear with the Mortadella+

Bloomington, May 1983

At Indiana University,  I was technically studying for a M.A. in English, but the variety of courses available at a gigantic university was overwhelming.  What 22 year old from a small town in the Midwest could resist:
Tibetan Culture and Civilization
Mesoamerican Archaeology
First Year Arabic
Or Russian Folklore?

I was a definite disadvantage in the Russian folklore class, since I didn't speak Russian or know anything about the scientific study of folklore.

All of the other students were Russian majors, researching the folklore motifs in Dostoevski or Gogol.  I was interested in...um...um..the mythology of the ancient Slavs?

Well, mythology is sort of like folklore, right?

The Professor, Dr. Kirtis, was a Hungarian bear, in his 50s, white haired, bearded, a little chubby, with thick arms and chest hair peeking up over the top of his shirt.  A little old for me, but it was hard not to be attracted to his ravenous energy as he paced the classroom, arms flailing, as he pontificated on the Firebird Suite or Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka or  Afanasyev's folktale collection.

Not to mention his obvious beneath-the-belt gifts, a gigantic Mortadella shifting around inside his black dress slacks.

The rest of the story, with nude photos, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

13 Public Penises of Hungary

My dream trip to Eastern Europe starts in Krakow, the old university town in Poland; heads west to Prague and Brno, Czech Republic; soutn to Bratislava in Slovakia; Gyor in Hungary; and finishes up with a week in Budapest.

It takes at least a week to tour the magnificent architecture left over from the days when Budapest was the gem of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Work out at the Vsarhelyi Gym with world-famous Hungarian bodybuilders like Zoltan Voros.

Check out the gay nightlife, like Fetish Thursdays at the Magnum Sauna;

And see the public penises on every streetcorner.  Here are the top 13 of Budapest (with Gyor and Debrecen thrown in):

1. Memento Park, dedicated to Hungary's communist past, features a dozen massive granite or bronze sculptures of nude men, such as the Republic of Councils Monument.

2. Wallenberg Park memorializes Raoul Wallenberg, who protected many of Budapest's Jews from concentration camps during World War II.    He's naked, tromping on the Serpent of Evil.

3. Tromping evil is a common theme in Budapest sculptures. At the Citadella park downtown, another naked man is tromping on the Dragon of Evil.

4.Hero Square offers its own series of naked male statues.  This one represents "Work," and stands next to a fully-clothed female statue representing "Prosperity."

5. Varosliget Park features a nude granite archer.

6. A rather stern, fig leaf-covered naked guy stands guard at the entrance of the Budapest Zoo.

More after the break

Jan 22, 2016

Date from Hell #2: When Neither of You Have a Place to Go

Des Moines, June 27th, 1981

The summer after my junior year at Augustana.  I drive out to Des Moines, where Thomas, the gay Episcopal priest I met last year, is holding a strategy meeting for the Gay Rights March tomorrow -- the first in the state of Iowa.

It's not a Gay Pride Parade, it's a Gay Rights March.  We will be marching through hostile city streets, carrying signs that say "Stop Gay Police Harassment," "Gay People Are Not Criminals," and "We Are Your Children."

Gay men and lesbians from all over the state are sitting in Thomas's living room, discussing how to respond to screamers, what to do if we are arrested, where to meet if we must scatter.

I sit next to Mickey, the only other guy my age: short, tan heavily muscled, very attractive, with dirty blond hair and a round boyish face.  We chat a bit, but don't exchange any personal information -- in those days you are circumspect, even among gay people.

"I want Boomer and Mickey to hold the banner that says "Gay is Good," Thomas says.  "We want some muscle out there, to show the straights that we're not all weak little sissies!"

Mickey grins at me.  "Up for being partners?"

"You know it."  We clasp hands briefly.

Then he and the other townies go home, and the out of town visitors bed down for the night.  It's a little crowded: the two bedrooms are full, and four of us get sleeping bags on the living room floor (nothing erotic happens).

June 28th, 12:00 pm

Mickey and the other townies arrive just after noon.

Do you remember those mesh half-t shirts they wore in the 1980s?  You might as well not be wearing a shirt at all.  Your pecs and shoulders were visible behind the sheer mesh stuff, and your abs were completely exposed.

They were hot if you had a perfect body.  A centimeter less than perfection, and they looked stupid.

Mickey is hot.

2:00 pm

The march is a little disappointing.  The media refused to publicize it, so no one knows about it except gay people, and they're mostly too closeted to come.  Our only spectators are the police officers watching us carefully to make sure we don't have sex on the street, and a few passersby.  Some run into the stores and offices to fetch their friends to gawk. No homophobic attacks, no screamers, just some laughter and an occasional  "Look at the fags!"

Afterwards, we take down our signs and pack them into Thomas's car.  "Great job, everyone!  We  let them know that we're not going to hide anymore!"

Mickey is standing next to me, smiling, muscular.

"I'm spending the night -- it's too late to drive back to Rock Island"  I tell him.  "Do you want to get together for dinner?"

"That'd be cool," Mickey says.  "Let me go home and change, and I'll meet you at my favorite restaurant in town.  Chicago Speakeasy on Euclid, say 7:00?"

5:00 pm

Back at Thomas's house, I shower and change clothes. I go into the kitchen, where two of the marchers, Paul and Erik are preparing lasagna and garlic bread for dinner.

"I won't be home for dinner," I tell them.  "I'm going out with Mickey."

"You landed Mickey the Muscleboy!" Paul exclaims.  "What's your secret?"

Erik adds "There's not a queen in Des Moines who hasn't tried to get into his pants."

Word of my "conquest" quickly passes through the group.  I hear hooting and hollering as everybody starts to tease "the kid."

7:00 pm

The Chicago Speakeasy is festooned with pictures of gangsters and bootleggers from the Roaring Twenties.  I ordered a "Dillinger Delight,"  a grilled chicken breast "wid all da grub": a baked potato and a side salad.

Now that we're alone, we feel more comfortable revealing personal information.

Mickey is in grad school in Russian at the University of Iowa, about two hours away.  He also speaks German, Czech, and Polish.  He figured "it" out two years ago, and hasn't been in a relationship yet, although he's dated a few guys.  He's out to his older sister, but not to his parents or straight friends.

9:00 pm

"Want to go to the Garden?" he asks, naming one of Des Moines' gay bars.  "So we can, you know, kiss and stuff?"

"Um...I'm only 20, too young to get in."

"Back to Thomas's place, then?"

I imagine a roomful of guys teasing us and making rude comments.    "There's no privacy there.  Could we go back to your place?"  I assume that he has his own apartment.

"I guess.  Follow me home."

 He waits in his car for me to pull around, and then starts driving down Euclid, across the Des Moines River.  Suddenly he turns left without signaling.  I follow.  He drives faster and faster, swerving across a busy intersection, then turning right, again without signalling.

"Slow down!" I yell.  Of course, he can't hear me.

We're on 30th Street, zooming toward Drake University.  He's a block ahead.  Suddenly he turns right.  I follow, but by the time I get there, he's gone.

I didn't get his phone number.  Or his last name.  There's nothing to do but go back to Thomas's house and face the teasing.

Why did he ditch me after inviting me over?

The full story, with nude photos and the answer, is on Tales of West Hollywood

Robert Clark: From Zack Files to Gay Teen

Robert Clark has been very busy since he buddy-bonded with Michael Seater on The Zack Files (2000-2002) and Strange Days at Blake Holsey High (2002-2006).

For one thing, he bulked up, transforming from a teen hunk into a bodybuilder with a stunning physique. (His brother Daniel is also a bodybuilder.)

For another, he's guest starred in some of Michael Seater's projects, and starred in some gay-friendly projects of his own.

On Veronica Mars (2005), he played a gay high schooler who is recruited by the lawyer to humiliate the homophobic ex-boyfriend of one of her friends.

Nonsense Revolution (2008) is about six best friends in Nova Scotia: a gay couple, a straight couple, a single lesbian, and a single heterosexual man.  One of the gay men is killed, and comes back as a horny ghost, who seduces the lesbian until she can get all five friends together to send him to into the light.  I'm not making this up.

On the paranormal series Warehouse 13 (2010), Robert plays a hunky high school wrestler with a penchant for catching on fire just when he grabs one of his hunky opponents.

Did I mention that most of his roles require underwear, shirtless, or otherwise semi-nude scenes?

Or that he's gay in real life?

He is also a singer, recording songs under RWC (Ready When Called) Productions.

Jan 21, 2016

Raviv Ullman

Speaking of Raviv Ullman, the Israeli-American actor got his start on Phil of the Future (2004-2006), one of the few Disney channel teencoms that offered little beefcake and virtually no homoromantic subtexts.  It was a "my secret" comedy about a family of the future trapped in the present.  Phil gets a girlfriend immediately.

But he's done a lot of gay-positive roles since.

In Driftwood (2006), as a juvenile detention center inmate who befriends a gay kid (Jeremy Lelliott).

In The Big Bad Swim (2006), as a teenager who, along with his best friend (Avi Setton), films the exploits of a beginning swim class for adults.

In Normal Adolescent Behavior (2007), as part of a group of high school friends, including a gay couple (Edward Tournier, Stephen Colletti).

On stage in Dead End (2005), a revival of the original which not only upped the beefcake but, but intensified the homoerotic bonds between the boys (while eliminating the older-younger subtext).

In The Russian Transport on Broadway (2012), as the nephew of a Russian mobster who has qualms about his involvement.

Rumor has it that Raviv is gay or bisexual in real life, but he hasn't made any public statements.  Do people make "coming out" statements anymore?

Jan 20, 2016

Date From Hell #7: The Dungeon, the Freezing Swimming Pool, and the Pierced...

Rock Island, December 25th, 1990

My boyfriend Lane and I have an open relationship: bedroom activity with other guys is fine, as long as we are both present, "sharing" or at least watching.  In emergencies, like when I'm back in Rock Island for two weeks, a close friend can substitute.

So on Christmas Day, I call Lane and tell him how my friend Dick and I went to JR's last night and hooked up with the Ginger Boy.  And he tells me about how he went to a bear contest at the Faultline, and got the phone number of the winner, Randall.

"You should have seen him!  A classic muscle daddy, in his 50s but not grey, a military haircut, a short-cropped beard, thick arms, nice muscular hairy chest!  I groped him -- feels like a gigantic Kielbasa down there!"

"Sounds hot," I say.  Not really my type though.  I just turned 30, so I'm not into the over-40 crowd.  I figure if they date, I'll just be the "watcher."

"And really into S&M: mummification, water sports, you name it."

I like some minor bondage, but Lane isn't into it at all.  What does he see in this guy?  "So, when is the big date?  You can bring Max along to share, if I'm still in the Midwest."

"No, we'll wait until you get back.  How about if we have with him on the 5th?"

West Hollywood, January 5th, 6:00 pm

I expect Lane to drive me to a West Hollywood address -- San Vicente, Crescent Heights, Fairfax, La Brea.  But instead we get on the 410 and drive south for 45 minutes, to Long Beach!

The other side of the world?  What does this guy have that the 20,000 gay men in West Hollywood don't?  

The rest of the story is too explicit for Boomer Beefcake and Bonding.  It includes a dungeon, a freezing swimming pool, and a Prince Albert.  You can read it on Tales of West Hollywood.

The Explosive Generation: Billy Gray in Love

In spite of the beefcake on the posters and lobby cards, The Explosive Generation (1961) doesn't offer many swimsuit, underwear, or locker room scenes, though there are lots of clean-cut 1950s teens in tight pants.

It does offer some significant gay subtexts, as rich kid Bobby (Billy Gray of Father Knows Best, right) moons over basketball star Dan (the muscular Lee Kinsolving, left), and invites him to a wild party at his parents' beach house.

They dance, drink beer, and Bobby tries to talk Dan into having sex with his girlfriend Janet (Patty McCormack, center, best known as the murderous little girl in The Bad Seed). 

 Wait -- why does Bobby care so much about whether Dan has sex with a girl?  What kind of vicarious pleasure can he get from. . .oh, right, the subtext.

That's why this poster shows the two of them dragging her toward a three-way triangulation.

Janet is reluctant -- how far should a girl go to prove her love to a boy?

So she brings up the subject in class.  Fortunately, she has one of those hip, caring, hunky teachers who are always trying to make a difference: Peter Gifford (William Shatner), who is as horny as Captain Kirk meeting an alien princess, making every statement a double-entendre and putting his hands all over the bodies of both male and female students (not to mention dragging a boy out of a girl's arms so he can have him for himself).

Gifford decides to conduct a survey about students' attitudes toward sex.  Parents find out, and become apoplectic with outrage.  The principal starts screaming.  The cops get involved.   Gifford is asked to apologize (that's all?)

Bobby leads a student protest  -- but not one of those loud protests of the hippie generation.  They give the teachers the silent treatment.  And the principal backs down. Problem solved.

The Explosive Generation is not very explosive, but it provides an interesting view of how histrionic parents got -- and still get -- over the idea of their teenagers having sex.

Jan 19, 2016

16 Dates from Hell

Since I figured "it" out, during the summer after my senior year in high school, I've gone on a lot of dates (a social event followed by bedroom activity).

Maybe 10% were spectacular, the stuff of memories and blog posts.

80% were pleasant, just everyday life in a gay neighborhood.

But 10% were Dates from Hell.  Sometimes the social event went wrong.  Sometimes the bedroom activity was miserable.  But most often the guy turned out to be mess.

Here are 16 dates that I would like to forget.


1. Jack Kerouac and his Bratwurst.   I spent two weeks hanging out in the Student Union with Jack Kerouac, aka Jurgen, a hipster writer who smoked a pipe and wrote horrible poetry.  I finally got the nerve to ask him out, to a meeting of the Quad Cities Writers Club.  When I got to his house, I was greeted by his live-in girlfriend!  But I did get a sausage sighting.

2. I was visiting Des Moines for my first gay rights march, when I asked a cute guy wearing a mesh t-shirt for a date.  He agreed.  At the end of the date he said  "Follow me home."  He drove like a maniac, zooming around corners, running stop lights.  Finally I lost him.

West Hollywood

3. The Kept Boy who Alan and I picked up at Mugi.  He had a fantastic physique, but neither of us realized that he was drunk.  And getting drunker by the minute.

4. Mario in the White Room.  A neat freak with a pristine white-draped apartment like a hospital room, who made me put my clothes in the washer before we could climb into bed.  Where he called me "honey" and was not into kissing (too many germs).

5.  In Nashville, I accepted a date with a closeted country boy, a student at Vanderbilt, with an infinite number of rules and quirks.  After a truly miserable date involving frozen custard and gay bashing, he ended up giving me the wrong number.  I got revenge by looking him up in the student directory and calling him anyway.

6. The Worst Date in West Hollywood History.  Ok, Ryan the Dwarf was nice, and very cute, but everything went wrong: a rainstorm when we wanted to go sailing, turned ankle when we wanted to go dancing, missing the concert, Ryan getting drunk, losing Lane (who was supposed to join us).

7. The Bear with the Pierced,,,.  The Prince Albert wasn't the worst thing about the date.  Or the swimming pool on a chilly winter night.  Or the pot.  Or the poppers.

New York

8. The Nastiest Guy in the World.  Terrorized an online chatroom with his constant abrasive, abusive comments.  I agreed to the date only because I was desperate to move into Manhattan, and he had a room to rent.  Actually, he didn't. He lied in order to get me to go out with him.

9. Mario the Teen Model.  My first experience with older-younger dating: I was 39, and he was 19.  And I learned a valuable lesson: make sure you're back home, kissing on the couch, by 10:00 pm.  Otherwise you may end up eating macaroni and cheese in a diner at 4:00 am.


10. Breaking Every Rule of Gay Cruising.  This one was my fault: I didn't screen the guy well enough in advance.  So I ended up in a half-built house in the swamp, cruised by two crazy roommates and invited to use drugs.

11.  The Coffee Drinker.  Drank coffee instead of beer at the Filling Station every day.  I tried to say hello, and he said "I'm not into a relationship."  Then Yuri landed a date with him, and invited me to share!


12.  The Huber Heights Horror.  This one was his fault.  He completely misrepresented himself and his intentions.  I drove 20 miles in the middle of the night for a "date." and ended up with a hookup.


13. The Grabby Male Nurse, one of the Gang of Twelve, gay guys who had known each other for years and had all dated each other.  This one kept leering and groping, and made every word I said into a sexual double-entendre.

14. My Friend with Benefits.  My boyfriend Troy was ok with "sharing," but when I started seeing another guy regularly, something had to give.

15. The Transman and His Angry Inch.  Ok, so I read his online profile wrong.  Not his fault.  Still, what I found down there was rather surprising.  And embarrassing.


16. Ricky with a Y, from last November, spent the entire date psychoanalyzing me.  Even in the bedroom.

The full list, with nude photos, is on Tales of West Hollywood

The Naked Man Festival of Japan

You can see lots of public penises in Prague, but if you want to see real, live naked men, head for Japan.

When I was in Osaka in 1986, I noticed that there were many more opportunities to see the nude male body than in the U.S. or Europe.  Men hung around naked at home, among friends, at the medicinal hot springs (onsen), in non-gay bath houses.

And there are many naked festivals, hadaka matsuri, in which hundreds of men wear nothing but fundoshis (ceremonial loincloths) that display the backside.

Displaying the penis is frowned upon (photo by Nicholas Amheiser), but baskets and pubic hair are fine.

Usually the festivals are held in the summer, but the most famous, called Saidai-ji Eyo Hadaka Matsuri, is held in February in Okayama, about an hour by bus from Osaka.

The temperature is in the 30s, but the 9,000 nearly-naked men generate a lot of body heat.

They are struggling over possession of two wooden sticks (ofuda), tokens of good luck for the coming year, that are thrown out of a window at midnight by a Shinto priest.

You pull and grab the tokens from people's hands, tackle the men who have them, and so on; it develops into a gigantic mass of bodies, all struggling, grabbing, groping, until the victor manages to shove them into a box full of rice.  There are also 100 willow sticks that provide lesser luck.

The day before the festival, there's another hadaka matsuri with elementary school boys in fundoshis competing over rice cakes.

Foreigners can participate, and a few hundred do.  Most are content just to watch the endless parade of beefcake.

While you're in Okayama, you should also visit Okayama Castle and the Yumeji Art Museum.

See also the Penis Festival of Kawasaki, Japan, and the semi-nude British tradition, the Boxing Day Dip.

Jan 17, 2016

The Judy Garland Mystery

I am asked, more frequently than you'd imagine, "Why are all gay men such big fans of Judy Garland?"

Depending on my mood, I answer:

1.I don't know, I haven't finished reading the Gay Handbook yet. 

2. Who's Judy Garland?

3. It's more about her hunky costars, Jackie Cooper and Mickey Rooney.  Watching them takes our minds off Hitler and Mussolini.  You're pretending that it's 1942, right?

What caused the firmly-entrenched Judy-gay men connection?

1. Her movies?  37 of them between 1936 and 1963. I've seen a lot, searching for gay subtexts.  But by now they're mostly obscure.  Chances are the average gay man under age 70 has seen only The Wizard of Oz.

2. Her music?  She released 75 singles and 22 albums between 1936 and 1965.  Mostly about falling in love with men or losing her man: "But Not For Me," "Meet Me in St. Louis"; "The Trolley Song."  I doubt the average gay man under age 70 is downloading them from itunes regularly.

3. Her tv series, The Judy Garland Show?  It was apparently a train wreck, ruined by the weird decision to make fun of the star.  I've only seen the Christmas episode, which pretends to take place in her home, with guest stars "dropping by."  Daughter Liza pretends that she's been practicing a dance number with her boyfriend (actually choreographer Tracy Everitt).  And it hasn't aired since 1963.

4. Her relationship with gay fans?  She did marry two gay men, Vicente Minelli and Mark Heron, but her attitude toward gay people was mixed at best.  There were much stronger allies, even in the 1960s.

5. Stonewall?  Legend has it that Judy's death, on June 22, 1969, sparked the Stonewall Riots and the beginning of gay liberation -- the patrons of the Stonewall Inn  were so upset that they refused to take the police harassment anymore.  But they were college students and hippies, more interested in Boomererson Airplane than Judy Garland.  It's just a legend.

I'm going back to her hunky costars Mickey Rooney and Jackie Cooper.  You're pretending that it's 1942, right?

See also: 10 Things I Hate about the Wizard of Oz

August 1975: A Crush on the Girl Next Door's Boyfriend

Rock Island, August 1975

During the summer after ninth grade, we moved to a new house, only a few blocks away from our old house on 41st Street, but bigger, with a double yard where my parents could do their beloved outdoor entertaining.  They immediately became friendly with the neighbors.

The family next door had a teenage daughter, Julie, who was majoring in business at Augustana College.  We didn't socialize much -- I tried to avoid talking to girls as much as possible, since my parents interpreted the most trivial "hello" as evidence that I was smitten.

 But I wouldn't have socialized with her at all except for her boyfriend Conrad.

He was an education major at Augustana, tall and slim, with a handsome square face and a bright smile.  Brown hair, a severe military haircut -- unusual in the shaggy-haired 1970s.   A little shy and quiet, always deferring to Julie.  But he always had a smile for me and my younger brother, and he always tried to engage us in conversation.

They went swimming several times a week, and Conrad picked her up wearing his swimsuit.  A smooth, tight chest, lightly tanned, an "innie" belly button, and an enormous bulge!  I was desperate to ask if I could come along, but of course they were too old for me to hang out with.

One Saturday about a week after I learned about oral sex in the church parking lot, Mom and Dad held a barbecue for their friends and neighbors.  There were about 30 people on five picnic tables in the side yard, eating hamburgers and hot dogs from paper plates, drinking sodas and lemonade from plastic cups.

The family next door was there, but not Julie.  Or Conrad.

Then, when we were about ready for dessert, they came rushing into the back yard, wearing swimsuits, carrying beach bags.  "Sorry -- we were at the pool and we lost track of time," Julie told Mom.

"No problem, there's lots of hot dogs left, and some potato salad and chips.  Go and change clothes, and come back."

The rest of the story, with nude photos, is on Tales of West Hollywood.